what we do

board.effectiveness

seen.heard applies behavioural design approaches to help boards deliver their strategic goals.

We combine business experience and academic research to develop cost-effective and sustainable approaches for improving ways of working where they will have most impact on results.

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Boards are groups diverse in their composition and often meet relatively infrequently for no more than a day at a time, yet they are ultimately accountable for setting the organisational vision, strategy and direction, making high-quality decisions and managing risk. Each week brings a new story showing how a board has had to deal with serious ethical and financial shortcomings in the organisations they govern. Anyone who has sat as a Director on a board understands the pressures boards face and the scrutiny they are under from their shareholders, their staff and the public.

Given this context, how can Chairs of boards create an environment where issues are raised, critical information is shared, complex challenges are debated and difficult decisions are made? Success is more likely if board members can draw on the insight of three groups:

  1. Fellow board members
    The diverse background of board members means they will have a wide range of experiences of teams and group dynamics, with different perspectives on what works in areas such as communication, challenge and collaboration. The Chair can work with the board to establish common rules of engagement and norms for the board which enable all members to contribute fully and relevant knowledge to be shared.
  2. Front-line staff
    The culture of an organisation, its values, beliefs and norms, are made manifest by actions and behaviours. How the Executive Team and senior leaders in the business work day-to-day sets the tone for the rest of the organisation. What they do, or don’t do, how they communicate and what they recognise all send clear signals about what matters. How front-line staff describe the organisational culture can be very telling.
  3. Customers
    The customer matters. The experience that customers have of dealing with an organisation matters. Customer feedback can give a wealth of insight into an organisation that goes beyond the quality of its products and services and touching on areas such as organisational values and employee engagement.

If this insight is lacking, it is difficult to ask the right questions, judge whether the solutions that are being proposed to strategic issues are likely to work or assess the robustness of operational processes in identifying and managing risk. If you want a fresh perspective on how effective your board is now and some pragmatic approaches you can take to improve, get in touch.